OHSU Appoints Vice President to Help Plan Research Expansion

10/15/01    Portland, Ore.

Oregon Health & Science University has named an experienced research administrator and scientist as its new vice president for research. Daniel Dorsa, Ph.D., a neuroscientist, professor and former associate dean of research at the University of Washington in Seattle, will administer and coordinate academic research at OHSU's four schools, and will help develop the agenda for building OHSU's research capacity through The Oregon Opportunity.

The Oregon Opportunity is a public-private initiative to accelerate and expand OHSU's biomedical research. OHSU will increase its research capacity through a combination of tobacco-settlement-based bonds from the state and philanthropy from private sources. This money will be used for biomedical research infrastructure, including the construction of much-needed laboratory and imaging facilities.

Dorsa, who assumes his new position on Oct. 15, has been professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and pharmacology at the University of Washington. From 1998 until this summer, he also served as associate dean of research and graduate education at the UW School of Medicine, gaining important experience in administrative issues related to both basic and clinical research, as well as to intellectual property rights and biotechnology spin-off companies. Dorsa also has been director for neuroscience research, and head of the Division of Psychiatric Neurosciences in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

"Dr. Dorsa is a highly experienced leader who understands how to support and enhance our strong and growing research programs," said Peter Kohler, M.D., OHSU's president. "OHSU will benefit immeasurably from his ability to move our research agenda forward, and to plan and coordinate the critical resources and programs resulting from The Oregon Opportunity."

"President Kohler's effectiveness in promoting the growth of research and biotechnology in Oregon will make it possible to create new facilities and add to the distinguished roster of scientists at OHSU," Dorsa said. "I look forward to helping OHSU develop its research programs and integrate engineering-based science into the research portfolio and culture."

The July 1, 2001, merger of OHSU and the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology added the OGI School of Science and Engineering to OHSU's Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing. OHSU's annual research awards total more than $210 million, which includes $18.3 million from OGI. In the past two decades, OHSU's research funding has increased more than tenfold. OHSU now ranks in the top 2 percent of higher education institutions receiving National Institutes of Health research awards worldwide.

Dorsa, 51, earned his Ph.D. degree in endocrinology and physiology in 1977 from the University of California, Davis. He did postdoctoral work at the Rudolf Magnus Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Stanford University. In 1979 he became a neuropharmacologist at the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center of the Seattle Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was associate director of the center from 1985 to 1995. He became affiliated with UW in 1979 as a research assistant professor and was appointed a tenured professor in 1992. A member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Dorsa is on the editorial boards of Endocrinology and Neuropsychopharmacology, as well as other journals. He is also the recipient of a Distinguished Investigator Award from the National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression for his research on the mechanisms of action of antipsychotic medications.

Dorsa is bringing his own research laboratory to OHSU. Under grants from the National Institutes of Health, he is currently investigating the effects of the hormone estrogen on brain neurons, including the possible protective effects of estrogens against the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Note to editors: An electronic, high-resolution photograph of Daniel Dorsa is available at www.ohsu.edu/news/dorsa.zip.